This is more than likely Jim Harbaugh's penultimate season at his alma mater before returning to the NFL because he needs a place to coach and the good people in Ann Arbor have seen enough, thank you very much. The Wolverines are 1-3, on a three-game losing streak, and still raw from the historic abuse Wisconsin gave them in primetime this past Saturday. There are really no easy answers when it comes to righting the ship as, for what feels like the 15th consecutive year, the paper tigers have proven to be toothless.
So credit Shawn Windsor of the Detroit Free Press for thinking outside the box. Here's how his latest column begins:
"Maybe Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh needs to take his shirt off. Or get back on Twitter and call out coaches down south. Or reach out to Madonna. Or the Pope. Or God — it doesn’t matter which one. Maybe he needs to lace up his cleats and grab his sleeping bag and hit the virtual recruiting trail like a groundhog hitting lettuce. "
"Yeah, it would be for show. But at least it would be his show. Because this version of Harbaugh? It’s hard to recognize. "
The larger point is that Harbaugh, in his Monday availability, seemed energized and ready to attack the challenges ahead with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind. Such dedication will be needed to get things back on track and avoid a four-touchdown humiliation against Ohio State.
People can get their daily fix of negativity just by reflecting on, well, anything for 12 seconds. But allow me to point out that when the first idea that comes to mind when facing a pickle is to disrobe, well, friend, you're in the thick of it.
Taking one's shirt off is the first resort of an over-served bro at a fraternity party who won't be satisfied until he fights a guy who bumped him. It's the quick fix for a Bachelorette contestant feeling like his chance is slipping away and needs to throw abs out there as a Hail Mary. It's what dad does when he's real mad you didn't help enough with the yardwork while hugging the air conditioner.
On the other hand, maybe it's all Harbaugh knows. When you look back at him bathing his alabaster skin in the warm daylight, it's honestly sort of sad. Even for an MSU grad. This was five short years ago. He had his whole life and multiple national titles ahead of him.
What was once a grimace of ecstasy has become a pained expression while watching opponents steal up all your wins a la the actual Grimace. So, sure. Take that top off. Pants too while we're at it.
No better time than the present to get weird.